AbstractThe recently developed two-dimensional variational methods for analyzing vortex winds from radar-observed mesocyclones can be extended to analyze three-dimensional vortex winds, but the first task for this extension is to estimate the vortex center location and its continuous variations in four-dimensional space so that the horizontal location of the vortex center can be expressed as a continuous function of height and time. To accomplish this task, a three-step method is developed in this paper. The method is applied to the Moore, Oklahoma, tornadic mesocyclone observed by the operational KTLX radar (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) and the NSSL phased-array radar on 20 May 2013. The estimated vortex center trajectory at the ground level is verified with the tornado damage survey data. The estimated vortex center trajectories above the ground (up to 4-km height) reveal that the vortex core was initially tilted northeastward along the direction of the environmental flow and its vertical shear but became nearly vertical about 16 min later and 4 min before the vortex started to cause EF5 damages.
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Oct 10, 2017
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